Being a big fan of the first Crackdown game, I was one of the first to run out and buy the game. Let me start off by saying that since this game is mostly a reskin of the first, its difficult for me to recommend spending 60 bucks on this. If you are on a gaming budget, rent it. But being a gaming addict, had to get my next fix of crack…….down.
For those of you who are not familiar with the gameplay, this is a 3rd person shooter with a few driving and RPG elements. Your character has five areas of expertise: Agility, Weapons, Strength, Explosives, and Driving.
Most players realize that the most fun thing to level up first is Agility. This can be done by picking up some of the 500 orbs scattered around the map. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get them all. The higher your level, the faster you run and the higher you can jump. This may not seem like a lot but you will quickly see that it is way more fun to jump 50 ft than 10ft.
Strength is self explanatory and can be leveled up when you melee. Driving skill increases when you complete races, do jump stunts, or run over enemies. Higher Explosive levels unlock awesome grenades. Leveling up your weapon skill will unlock cooler weapons such as the ever popular Harpoon gun.
So basically, the premise of this is, X number of years have passed since Crackdown 1, the gangs are gone, but there’s a virus that has mutated people into Freaks (zombies) that you have to deal with at night. During the day, you fight Cell, which is a resistance group trying to prevent the agency from dealing with the Freaks. If you played the first Crackdown *spoiler alert* you find out at the end that your agency is evil. So when this game starts, its pretty obvious listening to the very sadistic and sarcastic voice of the agency that you are not really the good guy.
This game got a few things right and a few things wrong. Let’s start with the negative.
LET DOWN 2
1. The orbs are back. Let’s face it, you should know by now that when a game makes you search for over 1000 little items, its probably lacking in content. Sure it will lengthen your game time by many many hours if you decide to go for the achievements, but really its just tedious. This includes the audio diaries that have been added to the “shit to collect” list. I’ve seen a lot of games do this lately. Bioshock did it perfectly in my mind, with uninteruppted gameplay while revealing interesting and relevant story. I love Crackdown, but not because of its story. Its just an awesome game where your enormous, rocket weilding, steroided out character can cause all sorts of chaos. I don’t really care why he is out stomping on people’s skulls and I’m pretty sure most other players would agree.
Once you’ve maxed out your character’s stats there’s not much left to accomplish and unless you are playing co-op, it gets pretty boring.
Xbox still has not embraced the family like gaming style of the Wii and in order to sell more copies of a game, they prevent you from splitscreen co-op. I’m starting to wonder why I own 4 controllers.
SMACK DOWN 2:
There were a few things that this game really got right. First of all, even though I hate orb hunting, my addiction to those gamer points compels me to do it anyway. On the first Crackdown, I printed out a map of all 800 orb locations. After a few days I went through checking them off one by one… insane. I know. So I get to then last dot on my map and cross it off, I’m one orb short. The problem with the map is Crackdown is more of a vertical game than a horizonal one, so if the map shows a dot on an 86 story buidling, there’s no way to know what floor. I refuse to try to find my missing orb. The great thing in Crackdown 2 though is a type of orb sonar. If you hit the D-pad, you can see for a second, if there are any orbs with range. I am 800/800 orbs.
To encourage online co-op, they’ve added online orbs which act just like hidden orbs, boosting a little in each skill. These are actually kind of fun to hunt down with a buddy. You can only pick them up if you are standing next to each other. 4 player co-op. Nuff said. There is a multiplayer vs mode that I’m not too experienced with yet, but its a nice alternative game style if your buddies are too cheap to buy the game.
Another new addition is renegade driving and agility orbs. These run away from you so you have to be very fast and agile to collect them. Once you reach maximum agility, you can fly a helicopter. This is wonderful for those insanely tall buildings that you just don’y want to spend 20 min climbing every time.
My favorite addition would have to be the wingsuit. Once you max out your agility you can glide a short distance, or if you have enough starting height, glide up and down for long periods of time. Its tricky to learn, but it is a lot of fun. It also opens up wing suit challenge rings which work just like the vehicle stunt rings.
There’s a few new vehicles, weapons, and grenades that are a lot of fun. The Agency SUV has a jump button, UV shotgun, mag grenades, and quacker grenades, which are explosive sticky rubber duckies (stick them to your friends online!). The magnetized grenades are very entertaining. You can string cars together, stick them to buildings, and even create explosive sling shots.
I do realize that this game is very much a flash in the pan, and I’ll be bored with it by next weekend, but give it a rent. It is extremely fun, especially in co-op. So get out there and blow some shit up, agent!